Category Archives: Water Foul

Movies featuring some of the worst aquatic monsters in cinema history

Water Foul: Shark

Shark

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Today, I’m going to take a look at 1969’s infamous Samuel Fuller movie, Shark.

Shark was directed and co-written by Samuel Fuller, who is known for such films as White Dog and The Big Red One. The other co-writer on the flick was John Dugan, who had an assortment of obscure television writing credits over his career.

The story of Shark is based loosely on the novel “His Bones Are Coral” by Victor Canning, who also famously wrote the source material for Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot.

shark3The cinematographer for Shark was Raul Martinez Solares, who shot such Santa Claus, Night of the Bloody Apes, and a number of Santo movies among his astounding 278 career cinematography credits.

The editor on the film was Carlos Savage, who also cut such films as Simon of the Desert, Los Olvidados, and The Exterminating Angel.

The cast for Shark includes Burt Reynolds (Deliverance, At Long Last Love, Gator, Cop & 1/2, Stroker Ace), Enrique Lucero (The Shark Hunter, The Wild Bunch), Barry Sullivan (Earthquake, Planet of the Vampires, The Bad and The Beautiful), Silvia Pinal (The Exterminating Angel), and Arthur Kennedy (Lawrence of Arabia, Elmer Gantry).

shark4The story of Shark follows a gun-runner played by Burt Reynolds who becomes stranded after losing his cargo off the shore of Sudan. He winds up being hired to salvage and plunder a ship lost in nearby shark-infested waters as attempt to cover his losses, but the trek puts him in even greater peril than he would have expected.

Alternate titles for this flick included Caine, Man-Eater, and Shark! (with an emphasized exclamation). The movie went through a number of name changes after a stuntman was attacked and killed on camera by a supposedly sedated shark, which was distastefully used by producers to promote the film. Samuel Fuller decided to quit the production because of the tragic death being used as an advertising gimmick. Fuller even tried to take his name off of the final release of the film, but to no avail.

shark2Shark certainly isn’t a beloved movie: it currently holds a 4.4 rating on IMDb, alongside a 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The fact that the producers used a tragic death during the production to promote the film almost certainly left a bitter taste in many viewers mouths, much as it did Fuller.

It is kind of surreal to see Burt Reynolds so young on film, and without his iconic mustache. He is certainly handsome, but has more of a Marlon Brando, old Hollywood look to him that I just don’t associate with Burt Reynolds’s appearance as we think of him in the public consciousness. While he had been on television a bit already in shows like Gunsmoke and Hawk, 1969 was really when he started taking on lead roles in feature films. Apart from Shark, he also popped up in Sam Whiskey and 100 Rifles that year, which primed him to show up in the higher profile films Deliverance and Fuzz in 1972. The combination of those two movies put him solidly in the public consciousness as a movie star, and his career blossomed from there (at least until Cop & 1/2, that is).

I watched this movie on a secondhand VHS, because this is not an easy flick to come by. However, the drawback is that the quality of the copy was garbage, and wasn’t able to tell if the tape or the actual source film was the issue. Regardless, the movie that I watched didn’t look very good from a quality standpoint, though the shots were certainly not incompetently put together (they are even pretty great at times).

The infamous shark wrestling sequences are really eerie to watch, as supposedly they kept the footage in that killed the stunt worker. It is pretty clear from watching the footage that they were not taking adequate precautions, much like with the similar sequences in The Shark Hunter. To understate it immensely, the experience is uncomfortable.

Silvia Pinal, who appears as Reynolds’s love interest in Shark, is absolutely fantastic in the movie, and her chemistry with Reynolds is through the roof. Apparently, she is an acclaimed Mexican stage and film actress, and appeared in a number of acclaimed films by Luis Bunuel in the early 1960s: The Exterminating Angel, Simon of the Desert, and Viridiana.

shark5Overall, Shark feels like a good movie that could have been. From what I have read, Fuller leaving the production meant the movie was left in the hands of the producing team for post-production and editing, where it was hacked quite badly. Combined with the the poor physical quality of the film, the totally serviceable acting and directing in the film is tragically totally wasted. This is the sort of movie that bothers me more than any other: a project with immense potential that wound up missing the mark for reasons beyond the creative vision. You could almost describe it as heartbreaking.

Mostly because this was such a massive pain to dig up, I can’t really recommend going through the trouble of digging this movie up. If you are a huge Burt Reynolds fan, it might be worth seeing some of his early work, but otherwise, the trivia behind the movie is the most interesting aspect of it, and that doesn’t require actually watching it.

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Water Foul: Attack of the Giant Leeches (2008)

Attack of the Giant Leeches (2008)

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Today’s flick is a modern remake of a classic Roger Corman creature feature: Attack of the Giant Leeches, from 2008.

Attack of the Giant Leeches was written by Jeff O’Brien, who also penned such movies as Bikini Girls From The Lost Planet and Ghost in A Teeny Bikini. Likewise, Attack of the Giant Leeches was directed by Brett Kelly, who has been behind such cheesy flicks as Jurassic Shark and My Fair Zombie, and even wrote Raiders of the Lost Shark.

The visual effects for Attack of the Giant Leeches were provided by Tony Masiello, who has worked on movies like Shrek 2, The Smurfs, Man of Steel, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

The music for the film was provided by Kevin MacLeod, who somehow has nearly 2000 composition credits over his career according to IMDb, primarily on short films and documentary features.

Attack of the Giant Leeches unsurprisingly carries over the same basic plot from the original movie: two giant leeches are living in a swamp, and kidnapping locals to feed off of. The disappearances spike curiosity, and the leeches are inevitably discovered.

This remake was neither widely distributed nor well-received: it currently holds a 3.0 rating on IMDb from less than 100 voters, and a 43% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes from 52 users.

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This movie is basically just total garbage. It looks and sounds like Ben and Arthur mixed with an Ulli Lommel movie (Zombie Nation or Daniel Der Zauberer, take your pick), and the acting is all on par with those movies as well. However, it was clearly made with admiration for the source material, and it perhaps stays a little too loyal to a movie that is by no means a masterpiece to begin with.

I will say that this movie got a genuine laugh from me when the leeches first showed up. Instead of having people in full leech costumes like the original movie, this flick uses obviously rubber leech appendages, which come from off screen to wiggle around and gently rub at the actors. Whenever a movie uses that kind of monster, I can’t help but picture the production assistant that had to wear the monster arm, standing just off screen trying not to giggle at how ridiculous the effect looks. However, to the movie’s credit, these monsters look far more like giant leeches than the squid-like creatures in the original movie.

Attack of the Giant Leeches also features some of the worst day-for-night shooting I have ever seen in a movie, in which there is a light blue filter placed over a scene that is obviously being shot during the day. You can get away with that sometimes if it is done well, but this is one of the laziest implementations of it I have ever seen. Characters are wearing baseball caps that are obviously casting shadows from high sunlight, sun reflections are coming off the water, and the cloud cover makes it obvious that this wasn’t just filmed during the say, but on a pretty bright day.

As far as positive things to say, this remake did put some effort into making the ending more interesting. Instead of just dynamite fishing to kill the leeches, there is a more tense showdown that involves bait and self-sacrifice. Even though the explosion effects look terrible, it is still a noted improvement on the conclusion of the original movie. They also put in an honest effort to update the underlying fears that motivate the storyline. In the original, the creatures were the result of atomic shenanigans from Cape Canaveral. In this remake, however, the movie takes a Birdemic approach to the villains, attributing their existence to pollution of their ecosystem.

Overall, this movie is amateurish and trashy, and hardly worth spending any time on. That said, this was clearly a fan creation born of affection for the source material, and it does manage to improve on it in some key ways. Regardless, unless you really liked the original movie or have an affinity for this sort of low budget horror, this would be best to avoid.

Water Foul: Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

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Today’s feature is another Roger Corman produced classic: Attack of the Giant Leeches, from 1959.

Attack of the Giant Leeches was written by Leo Gordon, a prolific actor who also penned the b-movies The Wasp Woman and The Terror. The film was directed by a man named Bernard Kowalski, who was also behind the memorable b-movie Night of the Blood Beast. However, he primarily worked in television, directing episodes of such programs as Rawhide, Baretta, Perry Mason, Columbo, and Knight Rider. The cinematographer for the movie was John Nickolaus, Jr., who likewise worked on television shows like The Waltons, The Outer Limits, and Rawhide, as well as Roger Corman’s The Terror.

The editor for Attack of the Giant Leeches was Carlo Lodato, who also cut the Corman b-movie The Wasp Woman. The score was provided by one Alexander Laszlo, who also provided the music for Night of the Blood Beast and the television series Racket Squad. Interestingly enough, apparently the entire score for Attack of the Giant Leeches was reused from his previous work on Night of the Blood Beast.

Attack of the Giant Leeches was of course produced by the legendary Roger Corman, along with his brother Gene Corman, who co-produced a number of films with him during this era.

The cast for Attack of the Giant Leeches included Ken Clark (South Pacific, Arena), Yvette Vickers (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), Jan Shepard (King Creole), Michael Emmet (Night of the Blood Beast), Tyler McVey (Man’s Favorite Sport?), Bruno VeSota (The Wild World of Batwoman), and Gene Roth (Earth vs The Spider).

The plot of Attack of the Giant Leeches takes place in the Florida Everglades, where a pair of leeches have been mutated and been given extreme intelligence by some sort of wayward atomic rays. They begin kidnapping locals in order to feed off of their blood, which leads an investigation into the mysterious disappearances by local authorities, who have no idea as to what bizarre creatures are living in the swamp.

leeches2Attack of the Giant Leeches received a remake in 2008, which was far from well received. Outside of some minor acknowledgments, no one from the original production had any involvement in the modern remake/adaptation.

As with many b-movies, Attack of the Giant Leeches has a litany of alternate titles: The Giant Leeches, Demons of the Swamp, She-Demons of the Swamp, and Attack of the Blood Leeches among them. In Spanish-speaking markets, it was even released as El Pantano Diabolico, which translates to The Diabolic Swamp.

Attack of the Giant Leeches wound up featured in the sixth episode of the fourth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a cult classic television show dedicated to mocking bad movies.

While Attack of the Giant Leeches is one of the most memorable Corman-produced monster flicks, it wasn’t particularly well received: It currently has a 3.4 rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 18% from audiences and 70% from critics.

leeches1The eponymous giant leeches in the movie are obviously just guys in loosely decorated suits, but I actually thought that these worked better than a lot of similar b-movie monsters. Something about the mouths on leeches and other similar parasites are just naturally unnerving and creepy. However, the creatures in this movie are clearly more complicated than just being giant leeches: the suckers all over their bodies make them look more squid-like, whereas leeches only really have a sucker on the mouth. Also, there is a certainly practical infeasibility to the concept of a giant leech: they are supposed to be small in order to function as a parasite on proportionally much larger organisms. It doesn’t make sense for the same reason a giant mosquito doesn’t make sense: what exactly are they going to feed on to provide them the amount of blood they need to survive?

Something that I particularly noticed about Attack of the Giant Leeches is that the runtime is really short, barely clocking in at over an hour. However, somehow it still feels like the story is dragging its heels throughout most of the movie.  This is at least partially due to how long it takes for the characters to figure out that the Giant Leeches exist, but even after two point-of-view characters are captured, events just take place slowly. The movie overall doesn’t have much of a crescendo structure, which makes it pretty hard to get invested in the story, and the stakes never seem to really raise. Even worse, the ending is massive anticlimax, with the leeches being destroyed by an off-screen explosion, and their bodies subsequently floating up to the surface. Basically, the villains of the picture were defeated via dynamite fishing.

This movie is really, really boring, even if you watch it with the commentary from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fortunately the run time is short, but I would advise to just skip this one in general. The leech-octopus suits are the only things that really stand out, and they aren’t quite interesting enough to justify watching the whole movie. Primarily this movie suffers from bad writing, because there just isn’t any kind of pace or structure built into the story, and the ending is just a total letdown. I was hoping for this to be another Attack of The Crab Monsters, but it certainly wasn’t. Unless you are interested in having all of the joy in your body slowly drained away, avoid The Giant Leeches.

Water Foul: The Crater Lake Monster

The Crater Lake Monster

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Today’s movie is the 1977 stop motion creature feature, The Crater Lake Monster.

The Crater Lake Monster was directed, produced, and cowritten by William Stromberg, in what would be his only film credit. Star Richard Cardella served as his co-writer, and likewise never appeared in a film again.

The cinematographer for The Crater Lake Monster was Paul Gentry, who is an accomplished visual effects artist who has worked on films such as The Stuff, Robot Jox, Laserblast, Predator 2, Fortress, RoboCop 3, and Space Truckers.

The primary editor for The Crater Lake Monster was Steven Nielson, who has also cut flicks like Blood Dolls, The Creeps, Head of the Family, and Inner Sanctum.

The effects on The Crater Lake Monster were provided by a team that included Steve Neill (The Stuff, It’s Alive III, Q, Full Moon High, Battle Beyond The Stars, Laserblast, God Told Me To), David Allen (Willow, Ghostbusters II, Robot Jox, Dolls), Tom Scherman (The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies), Jon Berg (RoboCop 2, Piranha, Gremlins), Randall Cook (Q, The Thing), Jim Danforth (Ninja III: The Domination, DeepStar Six), and Phil Tippett (Howard The Duck, RoboCop 3).

craterlake3The music for movie was composed (uncredited) by Will Zens, who is best known for directing and writing the abysmal film, The Starfighters, which is among the IMDb’s Bottom 100 movies of all time, and was famously mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The cast for the movie is composed of co-writer Richard Cardella, Glen Roberts (The Evictors), Richard Garrison (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4), Michael Hoover, who would later become a effects worker with credits on films like Ghostbusters, DeepStar Six, Foodfight!, and Torque, and Mark Siegel, who would likewise become an effects worker for films like Van Helsing, Son of the Mask, Dune, and Death Becomes Her.

The plot of The Crater Lake Monster takes place near the Crater Lake in Northern California. A number of locals begin to suspect that a Loch Ness Monster style creature is living in the lake after a meteorite falls nearby, and a number of mysterious disappearances follow.

Co-writer and star of The Crater Lake Monster Richard Cardella is quoted as saying the following about what went wrong with the production of the movie:

Crown International was part of the financing and they just screwed up everything. They pulled their support for some key scenes (that would have explained a lot and plugged some of the obvious holes), added a canned score that really sucked, and turned it over to some hack to edit. The asshole didn’t even use a fade or dissolve in the whole freakin’ picture

craterlake5The Crater Lake Monster is widely considered to be one of the worst creature features of all time, in spite of relatively impressive stop motion effects. It currently holds a 3.0 rating on IMDb, along with an 11% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Crater Lake Monster was reportedly made on a $100,000 budget, and managed to make a significant profit in its theatrical run with a $3 million gross, in spite of the negative reviews.

I have a soft spot for stop motion effects work, but it is definitely something that isn’t beloved across the board. The effects work in The Crater Lake Monster looks fine for what it is if you ask me, but there are a lot of people who aren’t accustomed to watching stop motion monsters, and seeing stop motion in comparison to other kinds of effects just makes it look awful. For a generation raised on Jurassic Park, moviegoers today likely won’t have the patience to deal with stop motion monsters, which has contributed to flicks like The Crater Lake Monster getting further buried.

That said, The Crater Lake Monster is pretty dull outside of the stop motion effects. The writing tries to awkward work comedy into the movie in the form of a quasi-comedic duo of rednecks, the directing and cinematography struggle to keep actors lit and in frame, and the actors themselves are just wretchedly untalented. This was clearly the work of amateurs with high ambitions, which actually makes the effects work all the more impressive. By all accounts, this movie should have been forgotten to the ages entirely, but the stop motion work really made it stand out. It also certainly doesn’t hurt that it had a memorable trailer that made the movie look way better than it is. In fact, I remember seeing the trailer on a compilation tape as a kid, and thinking that this looked like one of the coolest movies of the bunch. Unfortunately, I now know that isn’t the case.

craterlake1Overall, this is a movie that I really hoped would be more entertaining than it is. It is more than worth looking up the trailer and the clips of the monster, but the rest of the movie built around those moments is totally forgettable. While the acting and film-making work across the board is all bad, it is regrettably not on an entertaining level. I recommend skipping over this one unless you are determined to sit through it, because the clips will give you all of the highlights that are worth seeing.

Water Foul: Jaws: The Revenge

Jaws: The Revenge

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Today’s movie is the fourth and final entry into the Jaws franchise: the much maligned Jaws: The Revenge.

Jaws 4 was written by Michael de Guzman, who has also penned movies like The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay and Hidden in America.

Jaws 4 was directed and produced by Joseph Sargent, who was previously behind films like the highly acclaimed The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and the Burt Reynolds vehicle White Lightning.

The cinematographer for the film was John McPherson, who shot a number of episodes of Kojak and The Incredible Hulk, as well as the movie Short Circuit 2.

jawsrevenge4Jaws: The Revenge was edited by Michael Brown, who also cut the film Above the Law and the television series Green Acres.

The effects team for Jaws: The Revenge included Tony Lloyd (The Goonies, The Hand), Daniel Striepeke (The Ladykillers, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot), Doug Hubbard (Deep Blue Sea, Face/Off), Henry Millar (Stand by Me, Capricorn One, Commando), Mike Millar (Harry and the Hendersons, Weird Science), and Michael Tice (Hesher, Speed 2, Die Hard, The Avengers).

The score for Jaws 4 was provided by Michael Small, who also composed music for Marathon Man and the original 1975 film adaptation The Stepford Wives.

The cast for Jaws: The Revenge was headlined by Lorraine Gary (1941, Jaws, Jaws 2), Michael Caine (Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Hand, Shock to the System, Blame It On Rio, On Deadly Ground), Lance Guest (Late Phases, Halloween II, The Last Starfighter), Mario Van Peebles (The Hebrew Hammer, Highlander: The Final Dimension, Exterminator 2), Karen Young (Daylight), Mitchell Anderson (SpaceCamp), and Judith Barsi (The Land Before Time).

jawsrevenge3The plot of Jaws: The Revenge takes place many years after the events of Jaws 2. Sheriff Brody, the hero of the first two films, has since passed away, and is survived by his wife and two sons. However, one of his sons is mysteriously killed on the water, which leads the Brody widow to believe that there is a murderous shark on the hunt for revenge against the Brody family. In hopes of soothing her, the surviving son takes her on a vacation away from Amity, which ultimately proves to backfire when the vengeful shark follows them to the tropics.

Jaws 4 is famously known as one of Michael Caine’s “paycheck pictures,” and there is a popularly circulated anecdote that he claimed to have never actually seen the final product of the film, but has, however, seen the house that it bought him. Caine famously missed the Academy Awards while re-filming the ending sequence of Jaws 4, and couldn’t accept his supporting actor award for the film Hannah and Her Sisters. In his autobiography, Caine wrote that Jaws 4 “will go down in my memory as the time when I won an Oscar, paid for a house and had a great holiday. Not bad for a flop movie.”

Judith Barsi, the child actor featured in Jaws 4, was tragically murdered the following year by her father, making Jaws: The Revenge her last feature film appearance. She is particularly fondly remembered for providing the voice of Ducky in the children’s animated movie The Land Before Time.

The famous tagline used for Jaws 4; “This time, it’s personal,” is now one of the most frequently mocked and cliched movie taglines of all time, and was even lampooned in Back to The Future II‘s portrayal of the fictitious Jaws 19, which is billed with the tagline “This time it’s really, really personal.”

The screenplay for Jaws 4 included back doors for possible cameos by Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider, but both men declined. Scheider even publicly claimed that “Satan himself could not get me to do Jaws part 4.

As far as other cast trivia goes, Jaws: The Revenge proved to be Lorraine Gary’s final movie, and she even came out of self-imposed acting retirement to appear in it. The character played by Mario Van Peebles, while originally written into the movie, was entirely rewritten by the actor to ‘improve’ the dialogue.

Interestingly, Jaws 4 doesn’t follow the continuity of Jaws 3-D, and disregards that poorly received third entry into the franchise. This is apparently why the official title is Jaws: The Revenge instead of Jaws 4.

Michael Caine’s character had a written subplot about being a drug runner which was actually filmed, but wasn’t included in the final release of the movie. Likewise, the novelization of the movie includes a number of other cut elements of the storyline that never made it to the screen, including a voodoo possession plot that influences the shark’s vendetta against the Brodys.

Unsurprisingly, Jaws: The Revenge was the final official Jaws film release, though countless knockoffs have tried to claim association as Jaws 5. While it was ultimately profitable ($51.8 million on a $23 million budget), it paled in comparison to its predecessors, and was a massive critical flop. It would up with an astounding 7 Golden Raspberry nominations, and won the award for worst visual effects in a motion picture. It is now widely regarded as one of the worst Hollywood movies of all time: it currently holds a 2.8 rating on IMDb, along with a 14% audience score and a 0% critics score on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator. The famed film critics Siskel and Ebert both enthusiastically hated the movie, with Gene Siskel claiming he wanted to “punch a hole in the screen” when he first saw it in a theater.

One of the biggest issues with Jaws: The Revenge is the eponymous shark. Not unlike the original “Bruce,” it looks bad and worked poorly. However, the team on Jaws realized this, and used creative editing to make the film impressive in spite of the issues with the monster. Jaws: The Revenge seems to do the opposite: it emphasizes the shark as much as possible, featuring it in full view less than a third of the way through the movie in spite of how bad it looks. The result is a boring shark who spends enough time on screen that all of its flaws are noticeable to the audience, and the tension of the film is sapped away as a result. The fact that the shark was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award, the first non-human to compete for it, says a lot about about how bad it came off in the film.

To my surprise, I didn’t mind Michael Caine or Mario Van Peebles all that much in this, in spite of the massive criticisms both actors received for their roles. Both characters are goofy, but they provide decent foils for the overly serious widow Brody and Michael, respectively. They both come off as more likable than the actual stars of the movie at the end of the day, which is in itself a problem with the writing: the surviving Brodys aren’t particularly likable or relate-able. In fact, the guy who plays the brother who dies early on is actually pretty charming, and does a good enough job that his absence is believably felt throughout the movie. By comparison, his character makes the other Brodys stand out as being even more dull.

As far as characters in Jaws 4 go, it is the child actor who is written the most ridiculously at the end of the day, making Caine’s “Hoagie” look totally sensible. Clearly the aim was for her to come off as just being innocent and ignorant of social graces, but the way she comes off makes it seem like she is determined to poke every weak spot of her mourning grandmother by bringing up her dead uncle in conversation, which seems to happen constantly throughout the film. The result is a child character who is an uncomfortable mixture of shitty and creepy whenever she is on screen.

jawsrevenge2Overall, Jaws: The Revenge is certainly the weakest entry in the franchise, but it is hardly one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I think it gets a particularly bad reputation because of how bad it is when compared to Jaws. Most of the issues with this movie boil down to either the shark or the writing, which are both things that Jaws also had to deal with in a similar fashion. However, whereas Spielberg and company used creativity to overcome the limitations of the shark and used downtime to modify the screenplay and rehearse the performances, Sargent dropped the ball in his directing duties. The way I see it, Jaws: The Revenge is the worst case scenario of what could have happened to the original Jaws, if a few decisions on Spielberg’s part had gone differently.

As far as a recommendation goes, I think that Jaws 3-D is more entertainingly awful at the end of the day, but Jaws: The Revenge is certainly worth checking out. The shark is terrible, Michael Caine spends the movie doing a Michael Caine impression, and the attempts to reference and homage the original movie are hilariously flubbed across the board. Also, the ending is astoundingly bad, even after the reshoot done to supposedly fix it.

Water Foul: Shark Attack 3

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon

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Today’s movie is Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, one of the most notoriously awful shark movies of all time.

Shark Attack 3 was written and produced by the duo of Scott Devine and William Hooke, who also penned the previous two Shark Attack movies. The film was directed and shot by David Worth, who has also been behind flicks like Kickboxer and Shark Attack 2, and has served as a cinematographer for films like Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys, Bloodsport, and Paper Dragons.

The editor for the film was Kristopher Leese, who worked on the editorial teams in a handful of episodes of television shows like E.R., Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Heroes.

sharkattack33The effects team for Shark Attack 3 included Veselina Georgieva (The Expendables, The Wicker Man), Nikolay Gachev (Olympus Has Fallen, Legend of Hercules, Mansquito), Simeon Asenov (It’s Alive (2008), Drive Angry), Tinko Dimov (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Jurassic World, Jupiter Ascending), Anton Donchev (In Hell, Alien Hunter), Stanislav Dragiev (The Expendables 2, Automata), Jivko Ivanov (Jarhead 2, Lake Placid 3, Robocroc), Scott Coulter (Dogma, The Faculty, It’s Alive (2008)), and Radost Yonkova (Green Lantern, Men in Black 3).

The musical score for Shark Attack 3 was provided by Bill Wandel, who has also provided music for films like Crocodile 2: Death Swamp, Octopus 2: River of Fear, The Genesis Code, and some obscure gem called Blackmailing Santa.

The producers on Shark Attack 3 included Danny Dimbort (The Wolf of Wall Street, Shark in Venice), David Varod (300: Rise of an Empire, Octopus), Danny Lerner (War, Inc., Lethal Ninja (1992)), Avi Lerner (Alien From L.A., American Ninja 2), and Boaz Davidson (The Iceman, 16 Blocks).

The cast for Shark Attack 3 included John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood), Jenny McShane (Cyborg Cop III), Ryan Cutrona (Hot Shots!), and Bashar Mounzer Rahal (In The Name Of The King 3).

The plot of Shark Attack 3 surrounds the re-appearance of a thought-extinct species of enormous sharks, known as Megalodons. A handful of locals take it upon themselves to eliminate the gigantic shark before it can make it to a populated tourist beach where it can wreak significant havoc.

John Barrowman’s infamous propositioning line from Shark Attack 3 was improvised, and intended initially as a joke to make Jenny McShane break character. However, because she played it off with no reaction and the production was averse to doing multiple takes, it wound up in the final cut of the film.

The reception to Shark Attack 3 certainly wasn’t good, and it currently holds a 2.7 rating on IMDb. However, it has become a cult classic thanks to a number of clips of the shark effects (and Barrowman’s ‘cunning linguistics’) making the rounds on the internet.

sharkattack32First off, this movie is amazing, and I highly recommend it as a good-bad feature. For being as awful as it is, the film is actually not difficult to watch, and is paced better than most low-budget features, while still retaining its “terribad” features.

One of the most immediately notable aspects of this movie is the acting, which is generally abysmal across the board. The bizarre line readings come fast and furious throughout the film, which is usually a sign of bad directing. The odds of having honestly terrible actors from top to bottom is far less likely than the possibility that they were being instructed poorly. Given what John Barrowman has said about the movie over the years, I don’t think it is too much to assume that bad direction combined with the hesitancy to do multiple takes to create the memorable acting performances on display in this movie.

Something that has been done in countless shark movies since Jaws is the use of mammalian roars coming from sharks. Obviously this doesn’t make any sense, but it has gotten to be a bit of a tradition in shark movies in spite of all logic and sensibility. In the original Jaws it was a subtle big cat roar in the death sequence, but the noises have gotten increasingly blatant over the years. Shark Attack 3 is a bit unique in that it seems to use stock audio of bear attacks for the megalodon, which stands out from the pack of generic grunts and roars given to sharks in other films. Bears have a very specific sort of angry noise that is instantly recognizable, and hearing it come out of a shark is just…weird.

The shark itself is often made up of stock footage in Shark Attack 3, but there are a couple of creative moments worth noting. For instance, there is a camera hooked behind a shark fin in the water, giving a pseudo POV effect for a number of sequences. There is also some use of a fake shark head/torso for some of the attack sequences, though it seemed to be used pretty sparingly. The film is infamous for combining stock footage with original footage to create some of the worst attack sequences of all time, but those moments are pretty well compartmentalized to that section of the movie: through the lion’s share of the film, the effects aren’t awful. Given the budget the production was dealing with, they were pretty creative, particularly when compared with other Jaws knockoff shark movies.

I will also note that I found the use of practical effects intercut with stock footage, while cheesy, to be vastly superior in entertainment value when compared to the plethora of Asylum-produced monster flicks (Mega-Piranha, Sharknado, etc). For what it is worth, a rubber shark head looks more “real” than a cut-scene from a 2005 video game. As far as cost-effective CGI has come, it still can’t come close to comparing with actual, tangible effects (or appropriate stock footage), even when considering its creative benefits.

Overall, as I previously stated, Shark Attack 3 is an entertainingly bad movie worth checking out. I would take it over a Sharknado any day, and the popular clips of it circulating the internet amazingly don’t do it justice. It isn’t too difficult to find if you do some digging, and it is worth dredging up.

Water Foul: Jaws In Japan

Jaws In Japan

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Today’s feature is a 2009 Japanese “sequel” to the 1975 super-smash, Jaws. Appropriately, it is commonly known as Jaws in Japan.

Jaws in Japan was written by Yasutoshi Murakawa, who also penned a movie called Iron Girl: The Ultimate Weapon, which I kind of assume is a Japanese Iron Man sexploitation knockoff (but I’m not planning to find out if that is true or not.)

The director for Jaws in Japan was John Hijiri, whose only other major credit is a Japanese TV series called Girls Be Ambitious.

The Jaws in Japan cinematographer is the most experienced member of the crew that I came across, Yasutaka Nagano. He has shot such films as The Machine Girl, a segment in The ABCs of Death, and something called RoboGeisha.

The editor for the flick was one Masakazu Ohashi, whose credits include X Game and the TV show Girls Be Ambitious under director John Hijiri.

The producers on Jaws in Japan were Kyosuke Uen (Grotesque, Geisha Assassin) and Rie Mikami, who only has two other listed credits on IMDb, neither of which have five votes as of yet.

jawsinjapan1The visual effects for Jaws in Japan were provided by Tsuyoshi Shôji, who recently provided effects for an undeniably Japanese movie called Schoolgirl Apocalypse.

Jaws in Japan stars one Nonami Takizawa, who, according to wikipedia:

is a Japanese gravure idol, and a female talent. She is best known for her voluptuous figure. She is from Saitama, and her nickname is ‘Nonamin’.[2] She retired from modeling as of 2011.

You might notice that ‘acting’ isn’t specifically mentioned in that blurb, which I don’t think was a mistake on the writer’s part.

The plot of Jaws in Japan follows two young college students on vacation at a resort island. However, not all is well in the apparent paradise, as both a serial killer and a murderous shark may be hunting in the area.

Jaws in Japan is also known by the alternate title of Psycho Shark, which was used for its United States home video release. For its release in Japan, it was actually marketed as a direct sequel to Jaws, though I somehow doubt that fooled anyone.

jawsinjapan4The reception for Jaws in Japan was overwhelmingly poor. The movie currently holds a 1.7 rating on IMDb, alongside a 1.2/5 average audience score on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

First off, Jaws in Japan is clearly a work of amateurs (or immensely untalented people, but I’ll be optimistic), because it is pretty much garbage film-making across the board. As I’ll get into in a minute, there are brief flashes of promise in the concept of the movie, but pretty much every aspect of the execution of it is abysmal. The acting is nonexistent, and I would wager that there wasn’t a screenplay of any kind for this film. Most of the movie is either repeated camcorder footage of nonsense, shots of girls watching that camcorder footage, shots of girls on beaches, shots of girls in showers, or shots of girls in bed doing and saying nothing. With the exception of the finale sequence, pretty much nothing happens throughout this entire movie. In short: it is paced poorly, shot poorly, looks terrible, sounds terrible, and might be the most boring movie I have ever seen.

Adding a whole extra layer to the film is the fact that this is an exploitation flick in just about every conceivable way. Not only are bikini shots constant (there is more dialogue about bikinis in this movie than about sharks or serial killers), but there are also random sequences ripping off everything from Psycho to The Ring.

The idea behind the story of Jaws in Japan has at least some promise if you ask me. The concept of a remote beach resort being terrorized by a serial killer, and the only clues left behind being guests’ camcorder tapes, could have made for an interesting thriller flick (a few decades ago). However, totally wastes that concept with its ineptitude.

I honestly think the shark was added into this movie after the fact. This is a shitty thriller found footage flick about a serial killer stalking around a remote beach resort, and the producers must have realized it was too boring for anyone to possibly watch it. So, they threw a CGI shark in two scenes and labeled it a Jaws movie. I can sort of understand the parallel of the serial killer picking off beach-goers like a shark, and that might have promise in a different context, but that clearly isn’t how this movie was pitched. I kind of wish more information was out there about this movie, because I honestly want to understand how on Earth this film came to be, like an investigator trying to piece together the scraps after an airplane crash at sea.

jawsinjapan3If there is anything that I can say confidently about this film, it is that it is boring. In a movie that is barely over one hour, there is a nearly endless amount of unnecessary footage in it. The footage isn’t even extraneous plot: it is just nothing. It is primarily home video footage of a shitty vacation, often times played multiple times. Other sequences just drag on for seemingly minutes too long without anything of note happening or being said. Because of this, Jaws In Japan is one of the most boring and incompetent movies I have ever sat through, up there with IMDb Bottom 100 flicks like The Maize.

Overall, this feels like an amateur art movie that was “spiced up” with the addition of a CGI shark, and was marketed as a silly Jaws knockoff. However, it is actually an unwatchably slow thriller composed of handheld camera footage of women in bikinis doing nothing. If you have enemies that you want to hurt with a movie, this is one that you can consider as a weapon. Just tell them that it is a shark movie, and watch them wait the entire run time for something (anything) to happen.

All of that said, the finale sequence is pretty hilariously terrible.